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Sujihiki Knife: Discover What It Is and Why You Need It

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Slicing through meat and fish is difficult without a good quality sharp knife.

Using the wrong type of knife can damage the food and make it hard to execute precise, clean cuts.

That’s where the Japanese Sujihiki knife comes in handy!

What is a sujihiki knife

A sujihiki is a long Japanese slicing knife that is typically used for slicing meat, fish, and other delicate items. It is a smaller and lighter alternative to a traditional chef’s knife, and it has a thinner blade that allows for more precise cuts. 

Sujihiki knives are great all-purpose tools for preparing sushi and sashimi, as well as trimming fat off steaks or roasts.

With its delicate balance between strength and flexibility, this type of knife makes any kitchen task easier than ever before!

In this guide, we explain the features of the sujihiki knife, how it’s used and why it’s a Japanese chef favorite!

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What is a Sujihiki knife?

A sujihiki knife (pronounced soo-jee-hee-kee) is a type of Japanese slicing knife.

It has a long, thin blade that’s usually double-beveled and made of high-carbon steel. 

The long thin shape of the blade allows you to cut through meat and fish in one long slice without having to saw back and forth as you slice. 

See my favorite sujihiki knives and a full buying guide here

An interesting thing about the Sujihiki knife is that it’s not a traditional Japanese-style single-bevel knife.

Instead, it’s a Western-style blade influenced by the Western carving knife, but it has a narrower blade and a much sharper edge. 

This Japanese slicing knife is commonly used for slicing raw fish for sushi and sashimi, as well as for other tasks such as slicing meats and vegetables.

It’s often used as an alternative to the famous Yanagiba fish and sushi knife.

The thin blade allows for precise, delicate cuts, and the long length makes it easier to cut through large pieces of meat. 

The blade of a Sujihiki knife is typically longer and thinner than a traditional Western chef’s knife, with a double-beveled edge that allows for precise cutting.

Most blades range in length between 210 to 360 mm (8.2 to 14 inches).

Sujihiki knives are also known for their sharpness, achieved through a combination of high-quality steel and traditional Japanese sharpening techniques.

The blade is usually between 8 and 10 inches long. The handle is usually made of wood, plastic, or metal. 

Sujihiki knives are used for slicing and trimming thin cuts of meat, fish, and vegetables. They’re also great for making thin, even slices of sashimi.

Sujihiki knives are an essential tool for sushi chefs and other professional cooks. They’re also popular with home cooks who want to make restaurant-quality dishes. 

What are the main features of a sujihiki knife?

Some key features of a sujihiki knife include:

  • Long, thin blade: The blade of a sujihiki knife is typically between 210-270mm in length, with a pointed tip. Some models are as long as 360mm. 
  • Double-beveled edge: The edge of a sujihiki knife is typically double-beveled, meaning it has a slight curve to it and is sharpened on both sides.
  • Western-style handle: Many sujihiki knives have a Western-style handle, which is typically made of wood, plastic, or composite materials and is easy to grip.
  • Lightweight: Sujihiki knives are generally lightweight, which makes them easy to handle and maneuver.
  • Versatility: Sujihiki knives are versatile and can be used for slicing, carving, and filleting meats and fish.

What is a Sujihiki knife used for?

Literally translated as “flesh-slicer” (sounds like the next Deadpool villain), the Sujihiki knife is mainly used for slicing.

This can be attributed to Sujihiki’s unique design that borrows features from slicing and carving knives, with the unique Japanese touch that makes it super sharp, extremely light, and very easy to control.

Due to the features mentioned above, Sujihiki cuts through meat quite smoothly and is considered an ideal option for filleting, slicing, and skinning different protein cuts, like fish etc.

The Sujihiki is the perfect knife to use when cutting through a roast chicken to remove the breast – this action can be done with one smooth swipe of the blade through the breast. 

The knife is also perfect for carving the Thanksgiving turkey since it slices right through the meat without damaging it. 

It can also be used to fillet and debone fish, as well as trim fat and sinew from cuts of meat. The Sujihiki is often used as a sushi and sashimi knife to prep fish. 

The knife’s narrow blade and somewhat acute edge angle significantly reduce the amount of effort needed to cut through food. 

One of the reasons chefs like the sujihiki is that it has an acute blade angle and super sharp edge, and if they use the correct cutting technique, there’s almost no cellular damage to the meat. 

For fish and sushi, this is important for the food presentation.

Using a sujihiki will preserve the fish’s natural flavor and texture in recipes when the fish is consumed raw.

The long, thin blade makes it ideal for creating thin, even slices of food. It’s also great for creating decorative slices of fruits and vegetables. 

It is also a popular choice for cutting vegetables but not really for decorative Mukimono cuts.

Since the knife has a narrow blade, it goes through the meat without affecting its natural texture and flavor.

This is super important in dishes that include raw ingredients, like sushi and sashimi.

However, even then, classifying this knife simply in the “slicing exclusive” category would be a bit lazy, given that Sujihiki also does pretty well in carving as well.

Just so you know, a carving knife has a very sharp tip and a blade specially designed to get through super-technical places and carve the most calculated slabs of meat out of a carcass.

The sujihiki’s long, thin blade makes it easy to cut through tougher cuts of meat, like brisket and pork shoulder.

It’s also great for slicing cooked meats, like roast beef and turkey. It’s also great for making thin, even slices of cheese and other soft foods.

It’s both beauty and the beast put in one package!

What is the history of sujihiki knife?

The sujihiki knife was invented in Japan as an adaptation of the Western carving knife and the other Japanese slicing fish knife called the Yanagiba. 

A second beveling was then added, and it was affixed to the cutting edge.

This resulted in the creation of an all-purpose slicer that functions similarly to a large kitchen or chef’s knife.

The Japanese variant has a long, thin blade as well as a heel height that minimized surface area for single-pull thin slices.

The knife was perfectly designed to eliminate drag and friction, allowing food to slice off with ease. 

Originally, the blade of the knife included ornate fluting combined with Damascus cladding, an unpolished and rough kurouchi look, or hammered tsuchime finishing.

Confused? Learn all about Japanese knife finishes and their look and purpose here

The sujihiki knife has evolved over the years to become a more versatile tool. It is now used for a variety of tasks, including slicing meats, fruits, and vegetables. 

The blade is also often used to create decorative cuts in food. The sujihiki knife is also popularly used in sushi preparation.

The sujihiki knife has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its versatility and ease of use.

It is now available in a variety of sizes and styles, making it easy to find the perfect knife for any job. 

The blade is also made from a variety of materials, including stainless steel, carbon steel, and ceramic, to suit the needs of Western consumers.

Planning to make sushi at home? Besides a sujihiki knife, you might also want to get a sushi-making kit for easy prep

How to use a Sujihiki knife?

Using a Sujihiki knife is just the same as any other Japanese knife. All you need is a good cut board and a delicate piece of meat, and it’s as simple as it gets.

Just position the meat, adjust and hold it with your non-knife hand, and move the knife over the meat in a gentle, forward motion.

When using a sujihiki, the ideal cutting technique is to make a single pulling motion over the meat from the heel to the tip. 

Though some people like to move it in sawing motion, It isn’t highly recommended as it can give the meat a sort of wavy and jagged texture.

There’s no need to use a typical sawing motion with this knife since you don’t want to tear the flesh.

If your knife is super-sharp, e.g., carbon steel Sujihiki, you can also try forcing the knife downward to get through the meat. 

In any case, make sure to cut against the grain for a smooth, delicate cut.

Here’s a short video demonstration you would like to check out!

Sujihiki vs Yanagiba

The sujihiki vs yanagiba comparison is a common one in the world of Japanese knives.

A sujihiki is a long, thin slicing knife with a double-beveled edge, while a yanagiba is a single-beveled knife with a long, thin blade. 

The main difference between the Sujihiki and Yanagiba knives is their blade length and shape. 

The sujihiki usually has a longer blade (270-360mm) with an even curve, while the Yanagiba’s blade is shorter (210-300mm). 

This allows for different cutting techniques and a higher degree of precision.

Another difference is that the yanagiba’s blade has a sharper point, making it better suited for slicing sashimi than sujihiki. 

The sujihiki is designed for slicing through proteins, while the yanagiba is designed for slicing through fish and other seafood. 

The sujihiki has a more even edge, making it better for slicing through proteins, while the yanagiba has a more acute edge, making it better for slicing through fish and other seafood.

Overall, the yanagiba is a true sushi and sashimi knife, whereas the sujihiki works well to slice fish and meat, but isn’t the top choice for sushi chefs. 

Sujihiki vs Western carving knife

The most important difference between a sujihiki and a western carving knife is the shape of their blades. 

The Sujihiki has an even curve from the handle to the tip, while the western carving knife has a straight blade with an abrupt drop near the end.

This design allows for more precise cuts when slicing meat or fish.

The carving knife’s blade is usually between 8 and 12 inches long.

Carving knives are usually used in conjunction with a carving fork, which helps to hold the meat in place while slicing.

Generally, the carving knife has a more flexible blade, which is better for slicing through tougher meats like beef.

The sujihiki, on the other hand, is designed to cut thin slices of meat and fish with precision and ease.

Sujihiki vs Kiritsuke

A sujihiki is a long, thin slicing knife with a double-beveled edge, while a kiritsuke is a multi-purpose knife with a single-beveled edge and angled tip mostly used by executive chefs.

The sujihiki is designed for slicing through proteins, while the kiritsuke is designed for a variety of tasks, such as chopping, slicing, and dicing. 

A kiritsuke knife is used with a push/pull cutting technique, so it’s great for precision slicing and making thin slices of meats, fruit, and vegetables. 

The sujihiki has a more even edge, making it better for slicing through proteins, while the kiritsuke has a more acute edge, making it better for a variety of tasks.

Sujihiki vs Chef’s knife

A chef’s knife or gyuto is a versatile kitchen knife that is used for a variety of tasks.

It is usually made of stainless steel and has a curved blade that is between 8 and 12 inches long.

The blade is designed to be sharp enough to cut through tough meats and vegetables. Chef’s knives are often used for chopping, slicing, and dicing.

Unlike the Sujihiki, the chef’s knife is more of an all-purpose cutting knife, whereas the Sujihiki is a specialty meat and fish slicing knife.

In general, the chef’s knife is a sturdy, heavy-duty knife with a thicker, wider blade, and it’s much more popular in home kitchens than the Sujihiki. 

FAQs

What is a Sujihiki knife used for?

A Sujihiki knife is used to trim the fat from meat, slice boneless meat, and skin or fillet a fish.

Since the knife is long, it often gets through the meat with a single drawing motion.

The extra sharpness of Sujihiki is equally useful for slicing vegetables.

Can I use Sujihiki for sushi?

You can surely use a Sujihiki to make sushi if you are a home cook. It’s sharp enough to get the job done.

However, if we are talking professionally here, you would like to use a Yanagi knife. Sujihiki is mainly designed for slicing and carving boneless meat chunks.

Is Sujihiki double-level?

Yes, a Sujihiki knife is exclusively double-beveled. Any knife that isn’t double-beveled cannot be called a Sujihiki, even if it has the same shape as a Sujihiki.

What size is sujihiki?

Sujihiki knives typically range from 210mm to 360mm in length. Their blades are longer than many other types of Japanese kitchen knives.

What makes a good sujihiki knife?

A good sujihiki knife should have a thin blade with a sharp edge, a comfortable handle, and a well-balanced weight. 

The blade should be made of high-quality steel that can retain its sharpness over time and doesn’t rust or chip easily.

How to sharpen a Sujihiki knife?

A Japanese whetstone is used to sharpen a sujihiki knife. First, soak the whetstone in water for at least 10 minutes.

This will create a slurry that helps to lubricate the blade as it is sharpened.

Once the stone has been soaked, place it on a flat surface and move the blade of the knife across it using a circular motion.

Make sure to apply equal pressure to the blade as you sharpen it.

After sharpening, rinse off the knife and wipe away any water or debris that may have accumulated during the process.

Once dry, lightly oil the blade using a cloth or brush to help protect it from rust and corrosion.

What is the disadvantage of Sujihiki knife?

Sujihiki might be inadequate for some jobs.

Since Japanese knives are frequently thinner and tougher than their western equivalents, they can chip under certain conditions and become dull if used without the correct pull technique.

These primarily involve applying force to cut and cutting through bones or other dense components.

That’s why the Sujihiki isn’t the best knife for non-delicate tasks.

For instance, you can use a hammer and a filleting knife to cut a fish’s head off.

But a Sujihiki might not be able to withstand the pressure in the same way from the spine to the edge.

In contrast to the Sujihiiki, a conventional western filleting knife is flexible and can take a battering without worrying about the edge.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the sujihiki knife is an incredibly versatile knife that can be used for a variety of tasks. 

It’s great for slicing and carving, and its long, thin blade makes it perfect for slicing thin cuts of meat.

If you’re looking for a knife that can do it all, the sujihiki knife is a great choice. 

The sujihiki knife has become a popular choice for professional chefs and home cooks alike.

It is a versatile tool that can be used for a variety of tasks, and its long, thin blade makes it ideal for slicing and cutting. 

It’s easy to use, durable, and can help make your kitchen tasks easier and faster.

So, if you’re looking for a knife that can do it all, the sujihiki knife is definitely worth considering.

Now you know how to handle a sujihiki knife like a pro, you are ready to make this Seafood Teppanyaki Recipe from the chef

Check out our new cookbook

Bitemybun's family recipes with complete meal planner and recipe guide.

Try it out for free with Kindle Unlimited:

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.